A slender but curvaceous woman with golden eyes and large flappy ears appeared in a room filled with electronic rubble and seized some folded clothes off a bench. Her cyan white hair was a mess and her topaz yellow eyes made her seem wild and feral. "That's what I think of your youth-ray!" the woman shouted. "And if you try to make me your 'little Ryoko' the same thing will happen to everything else in your lab, Washu!" After she pulled her kimono over her head she listened with a large twitching ear. No response but she heard a baby crying. "Washu?" Ryoko slipped her shoes on her feet and then disappeared to reappear next to Washu's control chair. "Washu? Where are you? Huh?"
At the base of Washu's barstool style control chair was a pile of clothing and a helpless infant struggling to free herself. The infant had curly red hair and bright blue-green eyes.
Ryoko burst out laughing. "This is too much!" the former pirate giggled. "You got hit by your own youth ray! You deserve it! Now this is funny!" She picked the baby up and looked at her tiny limbs dangling in the air. "Ha-ha-ha! I wouldn't mind if you stayed like this! Now who's in control, huh?" She set the infant down on the chair and took a step back. "I got yuh good, didn't I? Well, I'm not going to clean this up, so go ahead and make yourself older again and do it yourself—Ah!" Ryoko lunged forward and caught baby Washu when she started to fall off the chair. "Hey, be careful! Do you want to break your neck? Your great big head is too much for your tiny little body! You got to be careful! Okay, fun's fun; go ahead and make yourself older again."
The red-haired baby bawled and kicked her little feet. Her faced was scrunched up and her mouth wide open.
"Okay, you're starting to scare me now," said a wary Ryoko. "Look, fun's fun, but I know you can reverse this. You can make yourself older or younger without the need for gadgets or electricity. Just make yourself older. Focus your will."
Little Washu, very little Washu, cried some more.
"Washu?" Ryoko's voice was a frightened squeak. She set the baby on the chair but didn't take her hands off her and looked closely at Washu. The baby didn't seem to have decent motor control. "Washu? Come on, don't do this to me! I know you wanted mother-daughter bonding time but not even you wanted it like this! Come on, snap out of it! Come on!"
At last baby Washu's whining stopped, and the infant gave Ryoko an exhausted, but pleading look.
"You can't… undo this can you?" Ryoko stammered. "You… can't… undo this…"
Suddenly the space pirate started hyperventilating. "Oh! Oh! Oh!" she cried as she backed away from the baby. "What do I do? What do I dooooooooo?" she shrieked.
Tenchi Muyo, Tenchi GXP, Tenchi Universe, Tenchi In Tokyo and all related characters and movies are © AIC/Pioneer/Funimation. This story has been written solely for entertainment. The views expressed herein do not necessarily express the opinions of AIC/Pioneer/Funimation, the author, or this website. "Dimension of Love" lyrics by Kuroda Kayoko
Tenchi is in his room when Ryoko pops out of the wall and hugs him. Japanese kanji appears obscuring your view as a woman's voice sings a peppy tune.
When the cherry blossom starts to bloom
Meet me here in my lonely room
We'll find a passion filled fantasy
And this time you will stay with me
Ayeka bursts into the room. Ryoko sticks her tongue out at Ayeka as the princess chases her outside. More kanji appears and disappears.
All the misery that we knew before
Stays away when you are at my door
My heart will sing at ev'ry tender touch
And, oh, you'll want me twice as much
Sasami and a toddler Ryo-ohki wave out the kitchen window at Ryoko and Ayeka fighting. Sasami leaves the kitchen and enters the main living room.
A new dimension of love
A bold adventure waiting for you
The true dimension of love
A soaring flight. A dazzling view
Mihoshi waves at Sasami from the top of the stairs before tripping and falling. She sits up and winces in pain as she rubs her head.
We're gonna take it all the way
We'll make the dream so totally real
See greater wonders by the day
Then tell the stars what glourious rapture we feel
Washu opens the door under the stairs and walks out carrying a strange device. Mihoshi bumps into her and the redhead drops the gadget that shatters at her feet. Washu transforms into a baby and Mihoshi catches her before she falls. Ryo-ohki startles Mihoshi and she tosses baby Washu into the air.
Soon, with the start of Spring
We'll know our hearts are changing
Leave the hurt behind
I'll be true and kind
Be the best you'll ever find
Noike smiles enigmatically as the wall behind her become the night sky. Baby Washu tumbles through space and falls back down to Earth.
We don't ever have to cry or fight
Something tells me we can make it right
Enough of wandering far and wide
I just can't forget you though I've tried
The camera pans down to the outside of Tenchi's house to see Tenchi, Ryoko, Ayeka, Sasami, Mihoshi, Ryo-ohki, and Noike catch the baby with a blanket held between them. When the crowd parts, Washu is a twelve-year-old again. Tenchi and the girls wave to you.
This is destiny so why pretend
Close your eyes kiss me once again
I'll always be the only one you need
So go where your deepest longing leads.
Tenchi Muyo: Ryo-ohki OVA4
Episode 22: Baby Blues
Chapter One: Crybaby
The door under the stairs burst open and Ryoko dashed out carrying a red-haired bundle. "Crisis people! Crisis!" she shouted. "We have a real emergency here!"
"Indoor voice, please Ryoko," a purple-haired crimson-eyed teenage girl in a mauve kimono murmured in her high flutelike voice. "Honestly, the way you're going on you'd think the house was burning down," she added as she walked over to the hysterical woman. "Now what's the matter?
"We've got a crisis, Ayeka!" Ryoko snapped. "Get with the program and assemble the team!"
"Goodness, is that a baby?" Ayeka started into Ryoko's arms to see that she was carrying a red-haired infant.
"No, it's a vacuum cleaner!" the golden-eyed Ryoko retorted sarcastically. "Get the others! We've got a real crisis and we can't depend on Washu this time!"
"Goodness me," Ayeka sighed. "She has red hair and the most darling bluish-green eyes." The teenager gasped in horror. "Oh no! Don't tell me… that Lady Washu… is cloning herself?"
"Let's just say that Washu is going through her second childhood," Ryoko quipped.
"You mean that this is Washu?" Ayeka gasped as she put her hand over her mouth.
"That's right," Ryoko nodded, "and she can't turn herself back. We got an emergency here. Tell everyone else to drop what they're doing and get in here."
"Oh um, all right," said a flustered Ayeka.
Soon all the housemates were sitting around the dinner table. "Oh my, she's so cute," a bronze skinned blonde young woman giggled. "How old is she anyway?" she asked as she blinked her blue eyes ingenuously.
"She's supposed to be over twenty thousand years old Mihoshi," a pale skinned young woman with grey eyes, short green hair and sharply pointed ears replied.
"She doesn't look that old to me Noike," the blonde frowned in thought. "This reminds me of that kidnapping case we were on. The mother was kidnapped and we had to take care of the baby…"
"Be quiet!" Noike snarled. "You're the reason I quit the Galaxy Police! I couldn't stand working with a dingleberry like you! Why your next partner didn't just shoot you is a mystery!"
"Oh no!" gasped a darling nine year old girl with skyblue hair arranged in long ponytails. Tears welled up in her red eyes as she wiped her hand across the freckles that crossed the bridge of her nose. "The baby is crying."
"Sasami's right, we've got to speak more softly," said a slender teenage boy of Japanese (and Jurian) descent. "Washu's a baby now. Don't scare her."
"Yeah, listen to Tenchi, shut the hell up!" Ryoko growled. "Oops," she whispered sheepishly at the baby. "Sorry mom."
A grey furry toddler with large ears and golden eyes purred sympathetically and stroked the baby's red hair. The baby calmed down and stopped crying.
"Aw, that's so sweet," Little Sasami cooed. "Ryo-ohki made her feel better. Even as a baby she recognizes you, Ryo-ohki."
The furry toddler meowed happily.
"So what do we do?" Tenchi asked quietly. "Can't Washu change herself back? When baby Taro was here Washu could alter her physical age. She didn't even need a weird machine. Can't she just make herself older?"
"Is her little brain developed enough to allow her to focus her will on such a physical transformation?" Noike asked out loud. "Maybe she needs to grow up more before she can grow up more."
"You better not be faking this," Ryoko sneered at the carrot topped baby. "I know you wanted some mother-daughter time with me but I always thought that I'd be the daughter."
"Washu has got all sorts of medical equipment in her lab," Noike offered. "Give me some time and I'll run some scans on her so we can find out what's going on. There's always a chance this will wear off by itself."
"Yeah in about ten years," Ryoko groaned. "She's just punishing me for ignoring her. I can feel it."
"You ignore everyone Ryoko," Mihoshi chirped. "Don't take it so personally."
"How did this happen?" Ayeka groaned. "Did Washu make herself that young just for a bet?"
"It um, was an accident," Ryoko shifted uncomfortably and looked away.
"How did it happen?" Noike crossed her arms suspiciously.
"I uh… asked Washu if she could… I mean I wanted her to…" Ryoko stammered.
"Yes?" Tenchi asked, his shining dark eyes filled with trust and concern.
"She tricked me!" Ryoko protested. "It was all a trick so she could turn me into a baby! I trusted her and she wanted to give me a second childhood!"
"Considering how your first childhood turned out, you really can't blame her," Noike sniffed disdainfully.
"That wasn't my fault!" Ryoko shouted. "If Kagato hadn't got a hold of me…!"
"Oh the baby's crying again," Sasami murmured over Washu's sobs.
"Sorry Mom! Sorry!" Ryoko hugged the baby. "Didn't mean to bring up bad memories! I'm sorry!"
"Ryoko, maybe you should calm down," Ayeka said quietly.
"I'm trying Ayeka," Ryoko insisted, "but you can't expect me to—"
"No I mean I think you're upsetting her," Ayeka shook her head.
"I know I'm upsetting her," Ryoko nodded in an exaggerated manner through clenched teeth. "I'm trying to be quiet."
"No, I mean you're upsetting little Washu," Ayeka clarified. "When you're upset, she's upset. Remember when you teased me about something that Ryo-ohki had seen? You said that Ryo-ohki had seen me flirting and that you could read her memories. Does Washu have the ability to read your mind?"
All the color left Ryoko's face as the silver haired woman grimaced in horror. Baby Washu howled in fear.
"Oh no!" Ryoko gasped. "There's so much horrible stuff in my head I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy! The thought of a baby being subjected to my twisted subconscious is enough to give Genghis Khan nightmares!"
"Imagine what Washu's going to be like if she grows up subjected to your nasty memories," Ayeka blanched in horror. "She could become as twisted as Kagato or Doctor Clay!"
"I gotta think only happy thoughts!" Ryoko declared nervously before frowning in concentration. "Let's see, butterflies… cotton candy… kittens…"
"Meow!" the furry toddler vanished and was replaced by a strange little animal that was looked like a baby rabbit combined with a kitten.
"That's the spirit, Ryo-ohki!" Mihoshi smiled. "We've got to keep Ryoko calm!"
"I'll go into Washu's lab and see if I can't find something that can change her back," Noike suggested. "If I can't find that maybe I can find something that can protect little Washu from Ryoko's thoughts."
"In the meantime let's see if we can find any baby stuff," Tenchi suggested.
"Oh no, we were really awful at taking care of a baby," Ayeka groaned.
"No wait!" Mihoshi smiled. "One of us was really good at it! She was a natural mother! Does anybody remember who it was?"
"Washu," Ryoko moaned as she looked at the helpless infant. "Washu was the natural mother. The rest of us looked like idiots."
As one the girls groaned.
"I just realized, the last time we had to take care of a baby Aunty gave us the baby supplies," Tenchi said as he got to his feet. "Grandpa and I will have to go into town and buy some. In the meantime the rest of you try to hold the fort down until we get back, all right?"
"Sure thing Tenchi, don't worry about a thing," Mihoshi smiled at him.
"I think I know where some cloth diapers are," Ayeka said as she rose to her feet. "We've been using them for dusting, but we can use them for their original purpose if we can find a safety pin."
Soon Tenchi and his grandfather were in a blue pickup truck heading for town.
"Grandpa, what happened to my mother?" he asked before he could stop himself. "What really happened, I mean?"
"She died trying to destroy a massive battlestation that could destroy an entire planet with one shot," his grandfather didn't look at him. "She was killed by a warrior who was a pupil of mine before she turned to evil. She betrayed and murdered your mother."
"Did that really happen or are you making it all up?" Tenchi asked.
"I think George Lucas made it up," his grandfather winked, "but yeah, it happened, in a movie at least."
"Grandpa!" Tenchi growled in exasperation. "Why don't you ever tell the truth?"
"Should I let everyone in town know how young and vigorous I really am?" His grandfather became younger, resembling a thirty-year-old Tenchi with a longer face wearing eyeglasses and a white Shinto robe before his hair became grey and the lines of a sixty year old man returned to his face. As an old man, his grandfather was even sporting a mustache. "Should I retire old Katsuhito and let everyone see young Prince Yosho?"
"No Grandpa of course not!" Tenchi protested. "I mean tell the truth to me."
"I'll tell you when you're older," Katsuhito shrugged, "when I think that you're ready to handle it."
"Grandpa I assure you I'm more than ready to handle it," Tenchi retorted. "I've harnessed the power of the lighthawk wings and live with some of the most beautiful, powerful and dangerous women in the universe. I think I can handle the truth about my mother's death." When his grandfather didn't reply he awkwardly added: "Look, if she was murdered, I promise I won't go after her killer in a quest for vengeance. I'm doing my best to be forgiving and understanding. Just tell me if she was murdered and I won't ask any more questions. I promise."
"She was murdered," Katsuhito told him grimly. "She never saw it coming."
"What?" Tenchi blinked. "Who did it?"
"Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with the lead pipe," the old man smirked.
"Grandpa!" Tenchi protested.
"You said you wouldn't ask any more questions if I told you she was murdered," Katsuhito scolded. "I guess you're not 'more than ready to handle it' after all."
"Never mind," Tenchi grumbled. "I shouldn't have asked anyway."
"Yes!" the old man crowed as he slapped Tenchi's shoulder. "He can be taught!"
"Knock it off," Tenchi moaned. "We're pulling up to the store. Let's try to pretend that both of us were born on Earth, can't we?"
"What?" Katsuhito mocked in melodramatic seriousness. "Go out and lie to everyone? If I did that, what would you think of me?"
"You know what I mean," Tenchi sighed as they found a parking spot. "Can't we just try to act normal?"
"Do you want me to tell the truth or act normal? You've got to pick a lane," his grandfather teased. "Come on Tenchi, something is bothering you, and it's not just this old fool refusing to be a young fool. I can tell. You've got this dark… secret weighing you down. We're alone now so tell me about it."
"Out in public like this?" Tenchi blushed. "I couldn't do that!"
"Hey he's from outer space!" Katsuhito shouted when he got out of the pickup truck. He pointed at Tenchi and called to any pedestrian walking by. "Come see! We've got a kid whose ancestors came from outer space over here! Look, he's got the power of the lighthawk wings! He's the prince of Jurai!" When people ignored him and continued on their errands, the old man shrugged. "See? No one cares. Come on. What's bothering you, Tenchi?"
"Shall I go first?" his grandfather offered. "Look, deception is a way of life for an alien living on this planet. If I let everybody know that I can live for thousands of years half of them would start a new religion and the other half would want to cut me open like a frog."
"I can understand that but…" Tenchi paused before he gathered the courage to continue. "How can you be so flippant about the death of your own daughter? Didn't her passing have any effect on you at all?"
"Yes it did," the old man nodded sadly. "The problem with living forever Tenchi is that you have the ability to outlive your own children. Unless you find some way to deal with it, you're going to go crazy after a while. Why else do you think I insist on masquerading as a broken down old man? If I don't get married I won't have any more children. And I won't have to bury them anymore."
"Oh Grandpa, I'm sorry!" Tenchi apologized. "I forgot! That's right, I promised myself I'd be more forgiving and stop trying to delve into the past. So making up these dumb stories is just your way of coping, huh?"
"You find a lot of different ways to cope," Katsuhito shrugged as they entered the store. "Telling tall tales and acting eccentric is easy to get away with if you're old. It's a lot easier to hang around outliving everybody when you look old. People notice if you're a young fella who never seems to get older but nobody notices if you're an old coot who's managed to stick around for decades."
"Yeah, I guess so," Tenchi mumbled as they walked to the baby aisle.
"Being known for fibbing is also a great way to keep people from asking questions," Katsuhito added. "If you want to keep living on Earth with all those alien girls hanging around you better get good at dodging the question."
"I see, but I also think it can be hard to turn off after a while," Tenchi muttered.
"You got that right," his grandfather chuckled. "But let's get back to your problem. Tenchi, something is bothering you. Something huge. Go ahead, let it out. If anybody asks, they won't get the truth out of me," he winked.
"Uh… okay, why not?" Tenchi said uneasily. "Here goes: Grandpa, I've discovered that everything that's happened to us is a result of the tampering of the three Chousin goddesses, the rulers not only of this universe, but all the other ones too. The entire history of not only my life, but also the entire universe is a result of the three of them trying to find a being that if stimulated properly, will become a being many times greater than they could ever be. I don't know if they're looking for a father or a mate, but I do know that two out of three of them are living in our house. Washu erased her memory and took the form of a mortal woman, Tsunami has assimilated with Sasami and I expect Lady Tokimi to move in with us any day now. Everything that has happened in my life, everything that has happened in your life, everything that has happened in the entire universe, in all of time and space has been part of a cockamamie plan to turn me into the most powerful being that's ever existed or ever will exist. Mom's death, your self-imposed exile, even Kagato's villainy is just part of a bizarre set of circumstances that's supposed to shake me out of my complacent world and draw upon my hidden potential to be God. And that scares the hell out me.
"What kind of God am I going to be?" the boy continued. "Even if their experiment is a failure, and I simply become prince and then king of Jurai what kind of person am I going to be? I have a ridiculous amount of power at my command, and I'm being spoiled rotten by a bunch of beautiful girls that can't help but love me because of some primal 'god-force' that's part of me. They literally can't help it. Power corrupts and I have the potential to have limitless power, power that not even the three Chousin goddesses can fathom! What if, as the centuries go by, I become a jerk? What if I become one of those guys that say 'the ends justify the means'? What if I become as bad as Kagato, who knew just enough of the truth to go totally mad? Then what?"
"I can't take that risk!" declared the shaking boy. "I just can't take the risk! It was okay to be a jerk when I was just Tenchi Masaki from Earth, but as Lord Tenchi, Prince of Jurai and infant godling I don't dare! Somehow I've got to build up a moral center and practice some self-control! And I can't think of a better person to teach me about humility and restraint than you, Grandpa.
"Problem is, I've just realized that you're a liar, perhaps the biggest liar I've ever known," he sighed as he stared miserably at the ground. "Don't you understand?" he said as he looked up with a pained expression on his face. "I want you to tell me what really happened to mother and why you had to lie to me so I can look up to you again! As the centuries and millennia go by I need to look back at you as an example of the right way to conduct myself. I know this is unfair of me, grandpa but I need to put you on a pedestal again! I need you to be my hero!"
The old man looked thoughtfully at Tenchi before breaking into a huge grin. "Well done, Tenchi!" he smiled as he slapped the boy's back. "That story was just as good as one of my own! You'll be a practiced fibber in no time!"
Next: Cyber Washu